Long before Parasite triumphed at the Oscars last month, Sophia Loren became the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English speaking role.
The year was 1961 and the film was Two Women, a powerful World War Two drama. By that stage, Loren was a veteran of almost 50 films, but the role changed her life.
“Before I made Two Women, I was a performer,” she once said. “Afterward, I was an actress.”
Two Women was one of a dozen films she made with director Vittorio De Sica, who she credits with unlocking her acting talents.
“He taught me to believe in myself and to understand that, no matter how many people wanted to control my destiny, I and only I was the captain of my own ship,” says the star.
The admiration was mutual. Loren “was created differently, behaved differently, affected me differently from any woman I have known”, De Sica once said. “I looked at that face, those unbelievable eyes, and I saw it all as a miracle.”